Defining Water Equity

Equity refers to just and fair inclusion—a condition in which everyone has an opportunity to participate and prosper. Water equity occurs when all communities have access to clean, safe, affordable drinking water and wastewater services; are resilient in the face of floods, drought, and other climate risks; have a role in decision-making processes related to water management in their communities; and share in the economic, social, and environmental benefits of water systems.

Pillars of Water Equity

The Water Equity Network is making strides towards ensuring an equitable water future. Collectively, they are advancing the three pillars of water equity.

Water equity occurs when all communities and households play a role in decision-making processes related to water management and...

Pillar 1

...have access to safe, clean, affordable drinking water and wastewater services

Water being filled in sink hand and basin daytime

Pillar 2

...share in the economic, social, and environmental benefits of water systems

Man with hardhat closeup looking up

Pillar 3

...are resilient in the face of floods, drought, and other climate risks

Healthy green trees in forest of spruce, fir and pine

History of the Water Equity Network

man speaking at conference

In 2017, the Alliance released An Equitable Water Future, a definitive report on the water challenges facing historically marginalized communities and opportunities to leverage water investments to create social, economic, and environmental benefits for all people. Today, the Water Equity Network builds on over seven years of efforts to center equity in water management across the US. This effort started with the Water Equity Taskforce, which brought together seven cities working to implement equitable water management practices. Learn more about the Taskforce cities and read their roadmaps here.

The Water Equity Network Today

The Water Equity Network now includes over 40 cities nationwide committed to forging cross-sector partnerships and advancing equitable water management practices, policies, and programs.

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Together, members of the Water Equity Network…

Learn and Exchange
Members have opportunities to learn from water equity leaders across the country and share information on best practices and the latest innovations. Members also have opportunities to participate in both virtual and in-person networking and leadership exchanges where participants can learn and share about cutting-edge programs, policies, and partnerships that advance water equity.

Explore and Implement
In partnership with philanthropy, the US Water Alliance provides support for cross-sector community teams to turn their learnings into action. Through topic-based task forces, members participate in focused exploration and practice on a specific water equity topic of importance to their community such as workforce development, water affordability, climate action, and building capacity for equitable outcomes and partnerships.

Operationalize Water Equity and Create National Impact
Members of the Water Equity Network are making equitable water management the new normal in the United States. At the US Water Alliance, we understand water can be a force for equity and opportunity. Historically marginalized communities face an array of equity challenges: affordability, water quality concerns, flooding, and more. At the same time, water can be an essential part of building thriving, healthy communities for all. Water utilities are leading the way: they are anchor institutions that safeguard public health, protect the environment, and create economic opportunity. By collaborating with cross-sector partners, utilities within the Water Equity Network actively build more equitable water systems.